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UPDATED: House of Bishops passes marriage resolutions

UPDATED: House of Bishops passes marriage resolutions

Via the House of Deputies Newsletter:

The House of Bishops on Monday approved two liturgies for trial use that will permit same-sex couples to be married in the Episcopal Church, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent of this year. Their action came just days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can now be married in all 50 states.

The two liturgies, which were in Resolution A054, include a gender-neutral version of the current marriage service in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, as well as a version of a liturgy that was approved in 2012 for blessing same-sex unions that now also provides vows of marriage. These rites do not refer to “man and woman” or “husband and wife,” but instead use “these persons” or “the couple” to refer to the two people being married.

The bishops also adopted Resolution A036, which makes changes to the marriage canons to permit clergy to use either the current Prayer Book marriage rite or one of the trial use liturgies when performing marriages.

After a moment of prayer, the resolution passed on a roll-call vote, with 129 in favor, 26 opposed and five abstaining.

The resolutions now go to the House of Deputies for their vote. If the Deputies amend the resolutions at all they will go back to the House of Bishops.

Update – from ENS. Note the “conscience clause” for bishops:

…The bishops next debated and ultimately approved an amended Resolution A036 that revises Canon I.18 titled “Of the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony” (page 58 of The Episcopal Church’s canons here).

Among many edits, the resolution removes references to marriage as being between a man and a woman.

It also recasts the requirement in the canon’s first section that clergy conform to both “the laws of the state” and “the laws of this church” about marriage. The bishops’ amended version now reads clergy “shall conform to the laws of the State governing the creation of the civil status of marriage, and also these canons concerning the solemnization of marriage. Members of the Clergy may solemnize a marriage using any of the liturgical forms authorized by this Church.”

Clergy may “decline to solemnize or bless any marriage,” a provision similar to the existing discretion allowed to clergy.
Under the revision, couples would sign a declaration of intent, which the legislative committee crafted to respect the needs of couples where only one member is a Christian.

A resolution to substitute a minority report on A036 for the resolution failed.

Posted by John B. Chilton



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Doug Spurlin

I have one small question. I only see the 129-26 with 5 abstaining. Did they use one vote to approve both resolutions? Or did both get the exact same vote total?

Anthony Christiansen

Very proud to be an Episcopalian today! Many thanks to all who forged the way and to our HoB and HoD. The Kingdom has come closer!

Cynthia Katsarelis

I think most of us are just happy, Christopher. Others say that the vote comes from “bishops present” and that was overwhelmingly in favor. My own bishop is very nice, but he is quite bureaucratic, some might call him a nerd. So I would say that there are a lot of smart, committed people who disagree with you.

I am actually starting to feel some compassion for those who are losing their sense of what the church should be. But I don’t know what can be done when one side’s view requires actively harming others. If I had special wisdom or a magic bullet that made you and the other conservatives feel fully welcomed, and not on a “losing side,” I would share it. In a heartbeat. For all the words we’ve had, my ardent wish is that we all find the “peace of God that passeth all understanding” and share that Peace together, in our broken world.

Professor Christopher Seitz

We simply want the autopsy to be recorded.

I have 35 years of work in commentary writing on Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

They note their odd place in time, out of synch with the most fervent trends, and seek to see a God above and within both.

You appear to be a kind person with sincere concerns.

We shall have to see what God decides is of his own eternal purposes. You have your hunches.

God bless you and keep you.

Professor Christopher Seitz

For that odd group that is interested in what it would be for TEC to observe its own C/C:

Art. X requires that trial rites pass the HOD on a special vote by orders:

“the General Convention may at any one meeting, by a majority of the whole number of the Bishops entitled to vote in the House of Bishops, and by a majority of the Clerical and Lay Deputies of all the Dioceses entitled to representation in the House of Deputies, voting by orders as previously set forth in this Article:”

Now just go back and see how this category–important because a Trial Rite is en route to a BCP revision, potentially–uses language that is precise, as against other instances.

It isn’t difficult.

But why would anyone now care? A result was sought and it mattered more than ‘rules.’ Each new generation waves goodbye to their fellows from the previous. Such is the New Episcopal Church.

Professor Christopher Seitz

Always = as of your present mindset. See the discussion over the parliamentary issues in 2012.

But I am seriously confused.

Surely you don’t believe a vote that did not follow the rules is somehow germane? You surely are not saying that if the vote was irregular, it will need to be taken up again when the proper quorum is assembled?

You may observe the use of language in the C/C. When they mean ‘bishops present’ that is what they say. When they mean ‘bishops entitled to vote’ they use different language.

But do you really care?

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